WHERE WILL MY RESTING PLACE BE?

Copyright © 2015 Robert B Thompson. All Rights Reserved.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

"'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?'" (Acts 7:49,50)

"Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?" (Isaiah 66:1)

And then God answers His own question. "Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the Lord. "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word." (Isaiah 66:2)

Introduction

The House of God

The Home of God

The Resting Place of God

The Throne of God

The Chariots of God

Introduction

Usually we are so consumed with our own needs and desires we do not give much thought to God having needs and desires.

We see these needs and desires expressed at the time of the foundation of the Christian Church, and of the first martyr.

"What kind of house will you build for me?"

"Where will my resting place be?"

If we were to think about what God might say when He created His Church, it might be something like: "Tell others of what you have been shown about the Lord Jesus Christ"; or "Now is the time to start building My Kingdom."

Am I correct? Are these the kind of statements we would expect God to make when He set up His new-covenant Church on the earth?

But what do we find?

"What kind of house will you build for me?"

"Where will my resting place be?"

God has other needs and desires as well:

A Home. I think we all realize that a house is not necessarily a home. For a house to be a home, an abundance of love must be present.

Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:23)

A Throne. We do not often think of people sitting on the Throne of God, but some shall.

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

A Chariot. One might wonder why God would need and desire a chariot. God has created a vast domain. Yet He knows when the sparrow falls to the ground. But He wants also to be there when the sparrow falls, and His people with Him.

God needs and desires a chariot so He, through Christ and the Body of Christ, can bring justice to the nations. In order to bring justice to the nations He must travel to the leaders, along with His people, and tell them how to govern. The accompanying warrior angels will ensure that the leaders take God's words seriously.

Today God is moving from the Law of Moses to the Church of the Lord Jesus, so He can form chariots of the people who worship in the Christian churches.

The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. (Psalms 68:17)

Up to this point God has been using cherubim to ride on. But God has created man for this purpose.

Last Sunday, a believer named April exhorted us to be more holy.

Then I was moved to explain that God's five needs and desires must be holy. God cannot find rest in a chariot if it still is subject to unclean spirits. This gives us a reason to be righteous and holy in our being and behavior. It is not just because we want to be a stronger Christian person. It is that such a change in our character is required if we hope to be one of those who is blessing God by fulfilling His needs and desires.

Let's think about this for a minute.

Why would God desire or need a resting place? That is a difficult question, isn't it?

God created all that is, and perhaps all that shall be, in six days. On the seventh day, God rested.

The thesis of the Book of Hebrews is that we are to enter the rest of God—-not our rest, but the rest of God. We are to enter God's finished work, and not try to create our own heaven and earth.

It may be true that God cannot find His rest in us until we are being and doing what God planned for us during the six days of creation.

That makes sense, doesn't it.

So the people who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at God's Word, taking care to be completely, punctually, and cheerfully obedient to Him, are a place of rest for God; a throne for God; and a home for God.

When people, even Christians, are not humble and contrite in spirit, who do not tremble at God's Word, who are not completely, punctually, and cheerfully obedient to Him, there is no place of rest for God in them.

The House of God

We frequently refer to a building as a "house of God," This was true under the Old Covenant but it is not true under the New Covenant.

We know intuitively, perhaps, that God does not dwell permanently in a church building. Perhaps God actually lived in the Tabernacle of the Congregation. But it is not true today. And it will not be true in the future, even of the Temple in Jerusalem.

God created man to be His dwelling place. This makes a great difference in how we regard Christianity.

Religious Christians busy themselves attempting to help God out; to do something that will please Him and build His Kingdom. But most of their efforts are external. They may not realize that Christ in them is the Kingdom of God. "Has not My hands made all these things? It is you yourselves who are My Kingdom and My dwelling place."

This is why we must be righteous. A Christian who behaves unrighteously is a detriment to God's Kingdom, even though they are busy doing what they think is God's work.

We have perverted the Divine grace to mean that God always is forgiving us, not realizing that God's forgiveness is a means to God's ends. God's purpose is to make us a new creation that continually is giving a testimony to the world of His righteous, holy Character. This new creation does not take place all at once, but it does finally come into being. If it does not, then we have not been redeemed from the hands of the enemy.

For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Jude 4)

Pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality. That perversion, which certainly abounds in our day, had occurred as early as the Book of Jude.

I don't believe any conscientious preacher of today would say that it is permissible to sin because we are under grace and not under the Law of Moses. However, they do say the same thing, but it is not apparent.

They say we ought not to sin. But if we do, God will not keep us out of His Kingdom because He knows our weaknesses.

But that is not what the Bible states:

And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)

Can this be true? It is as true as John 3:16. Same Bible!

God is more interested in the spiritual condition of His people than He is in their religious activities. We absolutely must come out of the Antichrist spirit of the world and, with the help of Jesus, cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.

If we do not, but continue to obey our fleshly appetites, we shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. This is true no matter how much Christian work we do. This is because God wants to create us as His house, and God will not live in a spiritually unclean place of abode.

Does this mean we are being saved by works of righteousness we have done? No. It means that we are being made in God's moral image and a house in which God intends to live. This is why we must follow Christ as He makes us holy and righteous.

Therefore, "Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." (II Corinthians 6:17)

The Home of God

Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:23)

Our home. The home of Jesus and the Father.

Not just a house, but a home. A place where the Father and Christ are loved and welcomed.

How about you and me. Are we a home for the Father and Christ? It does not say so in John 14:23, but I believe this will be a permanent home for the Father and the Son.

This is why you and I were created—-to be a home for God.

When God created people it was not to make other gods in the universe. God's purpose is to make an enlargement of Himself. Actually, we would love to retain our original personality and be a little god, serving our own self-will. But to enter the destiny God has for us, we have to forsake our own life that we may live by the Life of Christ. Isn't it so?

When you and I are members of the Body of Christ, we are an enlargement of Christ. When we are an enlargement of Christ, we are an enlargement of the Father, in that Christ is an enlargement of the Father. I do not think any devoted Christian would deny that; although we may have qualms about thinking of ourselves as part of God.

But how could it be otherwise? When we are born of God we have been born of the Divine Nature.

The following passage may be the most powerful in the Bible:

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity (oneness). Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:21-23)

Our destiny as members of God's elect is to be one in Christ in God just as the Father is in Christ and Christ is in the Father.

This is not even comprehensible, is it?

Can you see now why God would introduce Himself to the Church as: "Where is the house you will build me? Where is the place of My rest?"

We simply have no realization of the desire God has that we be one in Him.

And not just one in Him, but one in Him as He and Christ are One.

When the members of the elect are one in God as God and Christ are One, then they are one with one another in that same Oneness. It all is of God! It all is of the one Divine Nature!

We can insist on being animals all we want to. But our Father, God, has no children who are animals. They all are of Him and partake of His Nature and image.

The question is not whether or not we are part of God; the question is whether we will welcome the Father and the Son into the home which we are. Are they actually welcome? Or would we rather worship God at a distance and build buildings, sing songs, and perform rituals about Him?

How close do you want to be to God? There are those who have forsaken all and follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Do you want to be married to the Lamb or to someone or something else? Do you actually want to be a firstfruit from mankind to God and the Lamb?

The choice is yours and mine. God is ready and anxious. We are the ones who waver, not being completely willing to let it all go in order to be filled with the Father and Christ.

"May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

We may say and believe that we want the world to know Jesus. The world will not see Jesus until they see Him in us. And they will not see the Lord in us until we are willing to lay down our body as a living sacrifice and be filled with God and Christ continually.

There are numerous churches and Christians in the world today; but I question whether the world is seeing Jesus in us.

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—"

As I saidincomprehensible! Is this actually the Bible I am quoting?

Will the Lord Jesus actually give us the Glory God has given Him so we may be incorporated as part of the Most High? I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity (Oneness)? Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. It seems so, doesn't it. Personally I think this experience is ahead of us, but we certainly can look forward to it, prepare ourselves by pressing into it, being completely ready when God's time comes.

"I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity (Oneness). Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

It is not merely unity as we think of that term. It actually is Oneness in Christ in God. When that has been accomplished in us, when the Father and the Son have made Their abode in us, then the world will understand that God loves His elect, His family, just as He loves His Son—-the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Resting Place of God

In six days God created all that is and all that shall be. Your eternal destiny and mine were established during those six days. And now God is resting.

Meanwhile God's Word is going forth, bringing to pass all that God has conceived in His mind. Now God is watching over His Word to insure that all is coming to pass according to His will and desires.

You and I might desire to create our own heaven and earth the way we would like them to be. But it is God's will that we enter His rest, praying continually that our being and doing are precisely what God conceived in a vision at the time of the creation.

I believe it is easy to see why God is still looking for a resting place. We humans have wills of our own. When God urges us to do something according to His will, we have a better idea.

In fact the whole world has a better idea. We see that today when a world in turmoil is persecuting Christians, throwing out the Bible and Christ. Although people do not realize it, Christ and the Bible are the only solution to the problem of the ominous threat of nuclear warfare.

We can see today that there are not many resting places for God in our world. The only possible solution is Christian people. But Christian people are not being taught, it seems to me, to make themselves a resting place for the Lord. They are being instructed to be busy with their religion—-particularly with the task of bringing the Gospel to the whole world.

Perhaps it is time now for the pastors and evangelists to direct a part of their message to the Christian people. Many of them are not aware of what the Bible says about entering the rest of God.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9-11)

When one reads the entire Book of Hebrews, the impression may be gained that the Jewish believers, although they had begun as determined Christians, were losing their zeal for the Lord. Some, as the writer declared, were bearing "thorns and thistles," instead of the fruit of the Spirit.

I don't know but what we are in the same situation today.

Since the time of the Protestant reformation, the elect, without realizing it perhaps, have been following along in the fulfillments of the feasts of Israel.

There are seven feasts, or observances: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles;.

A substantial number of Christians have moved along to Pentecost, that is, to the speaking in tongues. There are three final observances for which the first four have been preparatory.

But we do not understand how they are to be fulfilled.

Therefore, some heresies are arising, as people seek to please God.

It may be true that the most damaging of the heresies are those movements which have taken it upon themselves to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth so we will be ready when the Lord returns.

The problem here is presumption—-attempting to do the work of Christ before we hear from Christ.

The result will be to pave the way for Antichrist.

(You may read about the seven feasts of the Lord in several of the books and essays I have written)

Suffice it to say, the final three feasts bring us into God's resting place.

The Blowing of Trumpets points out to us the sins of the flesh and our disobediences to Christ.

The Day of Atonement is the period of reconciliation to God, as we confess our sins and self-will and turn away from them with the help of Christ.

The celebration of Tabernacles represents the coming of the Father and the Son to take up Their eternal abode in us.

This is a clear picture to me of the last three feasts bringing us into the resting place of God. Does it impress you that way?

If this is true, then every Christian should look to the Lord Jesus, and pray to know what God would have them do at this time. God is on the move. The Divine redemption is providing the spiritual fulfillment that is to come after our celebration of Pentecost.

What we are to be pressing toward is a resting place, in ourselves, for the Lord. When this has been accomplished, we are prepared for the worldwide testimony of Christ, promised in John 17:21-23.

No amount of Christian effort can possibly accomplish what God will do when we make a resting place for Him.

The Throne of God

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

I have never heard this passage preached. Have you? It is no wonder.

The Throne of the Lord Jesus Christ commands the universe. Has God really called us to sit on that highest of all thrones?

Perhaps when I was younger I would have been excited at the thought of sitting on the Throne with the Lord Jesus. But being ninety years of age, and having had a reasonably difficult life, I am able to take this promise in stride without any inflations of the ego.

Actually, it comes to me as more responsibility and work. People are in an awful mess, as I also was in time past. They need help getting straightened out, and I expect that will be the task of Jesus and us. But we sure will need God's wisdom to solve some of the problems.

But that is our job. We, the members of the Body of Christ, have been called to bring justice to the nations.

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)

The Servant is Christ, Head and Body. The reason God has put His Spirit on us is so we will be part of Christ, the Anointed One; and one day, by the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God, bring justice to the peoples of the earth. This is why we were created. Such is our destiny.

We are being created in God's moral image. In the spiritual fulfillment of the concluding three feasts of the Lord, Christ will work to remove from us all that is sinful and self-centered. Then we will be filled with God.

From that point forward we will be a true testimony of Christ to the world; and also be qualified and competent to work at the task of bringing God's peace to the world.

For a while we will need to wield the scepter of iron righteousness. That iron is being created in us as we turn away from sin and practice righteous behavior, with the guidance of the Lord Jesus. Hopefully such stern rulership will not be required forever. But I expect some of it will always be present as new people are born into the creation.

Our place for eternity will be with Jesus on the Throne of God.

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3,4)

Although this place of God's Throne in the Holy City will always be our home, we will travel in the chariot of God to all places in the creation where we are needed to maintain the heavenly peace.

How different from today, when sin is producing such a destructive uproar.

The quest for a lasting peace in today's world certainly is understandable. But permanent, worldwide peace is not possible until Christ and His victorious saints are on the highest Throne.

The Chariots of God

The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. (Psalms 68:17)

God is moving from Sinai, from the Law of Moses, to the Christian Church. From the Church, God will draw out and perfect His thousands of thousands chariots. You and I can be one of these chariots if we will submit to the redeeming wisdom and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let me present an imaginary incident.

You are resting in God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Suddenly you are aware there is a problem. You are traveling with the speed of light.

When you are at your destination, you can feel the tension. There are two men arguing about a piece of property.

Christ says to me, "The Father wants you to speak to these two men. I will give you wisdom."

So you make yourself visible to the men.

"What is your problem?"

One of the men, a farmer, says, "I have worked this property for ten years. Now Howard, here, says he needs it so he can build a shopping mall."

I turned and said to Howard, dressed as a businessman, "What right do you have to this property?"

Howard says, "I do not have a right to it. But I am offering Alonzo here a fair price. It is a perfect place for a shopping mall."

I said to Howard, "Double the amount you are offering Alonzo. This is how he makes a living and supports his family. You are a millionaire. You can afford to do this."

Howard looked grieved at this. He thought about it.

Finally he said, "How about it, Alonzo, will you take this amount for your farm?"

It was a sizable sum. Alonzo said, "All right, I agree."

The two men shook hands.

The feeling of tension evaporated.

I settled back between the Lord Jesus and the Father, and we sped back to the Holy City.

Dear reader, would you like that kind of future, of helping bring justice and peace to the world?? Remember, you would be an eternal dwelling place for God. God would make certain that you were able to receive the desires of your heart in addition to helping other people. That is His promise.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)

God has additional needs and desires. For example:

For fellowship.

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (I John 3:3)

For a family.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household, (I John 2:19)

The way of cross-carrying obedience to the Lord Jesus can be prolonged and sometimes painful. But the balm of Gilead is always present to heal and bless.

Never give up. Christ is faithful and true. Our task is to remain faithful and true. One foot in front of the other. Our discipleship shall be finished before we know it.